Much has been made in recent months about the phenomenon of ecommerce conducted over multiple devices. The age of the desktop PC as the main method of connecting to the internet in general seems to be on the wane.
People want ecommerce on mobiles and all the conveniences that retailers can provide. Such convenience generally comes down to mobile applications, or apps, used by consumers on their tablets and smartphones.
Arbitron recently noted in their research how Apple’s iOS, a mainstay on the company’s iPhones and iPads, leads Android-equipped devices in terms of usage of shopping apps. 67.5 percent of iOS users are using apps for mobile commerce in Arbitron’s mobile U.S. smartphone panel compared to 43.9 percent of Android users.
For those Apple devotees using mobile commerce apps, this translates into 35 online shopping trips per month, occupying 105.3 minutes of a consumer’s time on average. Android shoppers spent 87.6 minutes on their 29.5 sessions per month. Read more
According to a report in the Wired Magazine, Internet giant Google is planning to foray into online retail to give Amazon a run for their money.
Google’s position is a “pretty high perch from which to take aim,” Wohlson wrote.
Big retailers don’t have an incentive to work with Amazon, as evidenced by the struggles it has had breaking into fashion. The big brands already have stores of their own and fear losing their identities to Amazon.
But what they do want is more play on search, which gives Google leverage over Amazon.
Google’s aggressive e-commerce bid could put Amazon in big trouble, wrote Kerry Folan at Racked.
“Google wants to get in on Amazon’s online retail domination, and that they’re in a unique position to do just that, seeing as Google essentially still runs the internet,” Folan wrote. “At the end of the day, customers just want their stuff.”
If Google could get people products as cheaply as Amazon, it could present a real threat.
Amazon, the commerce bellwether, on Tuesday, requested the Indian government to relax the rules for having Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Indian ecommerce. This was discussed when a team from Amazon, led by Paul Misener Global Vice-President visited Mr. Anand Sharma, Commerce and Industry Minister.
“We talked about it (relaxation of FDI guidelines). We discussed all aspects in the context of finding a better way to serve our Indian customers, both sellers and buyers,” said Paul after the meeting.
As of now, Government of India allows 100% FDI in Single-Brand Retail and 51% in Multi-brand retail, subject to some conditions. There are some rumors that the government is contemplating on allowing FDI in ecommerce, but the industry department neither confirmed nor rejected the rumors. Read more
A couple of months ago, Facebook internalized social commerce by providing users with the ability to send real gifts (not digital as in the old days) to friends.
Here’s how it works:
Click on the “gifts” icon in a friend’s birthday announcement or visit their timeline and look for it there, and you can send a gift to your friend. He or she will be notified immediately and can choose an address where the gift should be shipped.
Okay, so you knew that. But did you know that Amazon and Cafepress have followed suit? The funny thing is that both rely on Facebook (at least in part) to supply a list of friends.
According to Internet Retailer, Amazon’s new feature, called Friends & Family Gifting, allows users to organize their gift lists, find gift ideas and receive reminders of their friends’ birthdays and special occasions, as well as share gift lists via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or e-mail.
Late last month, online retailer Cafepress launched its own gifting program, Likeable Gifts, that uses the same protocol. Read more
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba sold one trillion RMB worth of goods in 2012, the company announced today. That’s $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume (GMV), which easily surpasses U.S e-commerce giants Amazon and eBay combined.
In fact, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said only two companies have ever recorded annual transaction volumes at this level: Wal-Mart and Alibaba.
Alibaba — which recorded $3 billion in sales in a single day earlier this year — is a conglomerate primarily composed of Tmall, which manages e-commerce operations for thousands of companies in China, and Taobao Marketplace, a rough equivalent of eBay. All payments are handled by Alipay, the company’s own payments processor, and Alipay has over 700 million registered users — with credit card information.
The company has grown massively in the past four years as the Chinese middle class increases in size and wealth, and as it has become a hub for a massive share of Chinese e-commerce. E-commerce has been growing at 60 percent year-over-year in 2012 in China’s third and fourth-tier cities, the company says, and currently just over five percent of all Chinese retail spending – RMB 18.39 trillion — passes through Alibaba websites. Read more
Online retail spending was up 15 percent in the second quarter of 2012 versus a year ago, reaching $43.2 billion for the quarter, according to ComScore. That represented the eleventh consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth, and the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
It’s always interesting to compare marketplace performance against ecommerce growth rate. eBay reported that second-quarter U.S. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) excluding vehicles increased 14% year-over-year to $6.24 billion. Amazon reported North America segment sales in Q2 were $7.33 billion, up 36% from second quarter 2011.
ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said the second-quarter ecommerce growth rate was four times higher than the growth in overall consumer spending (online and offline), calling it “a sign of continued strength in the e-commerce channel.” Read more
Amazon and Apple changed some of their security policies this week after tech journalist Mat Honan claimed an identity theft incident involving the two companies allowed a hacker to wipe out much of his personal online data.
Both Amazon and Apple put an end to policies that allowed customers to change their account settings over the phone. Previously, Amazon customers could call and change data such as credit card information simply by providing their name, e-mail address, and mailing address.
Apple let users reset their AppleID passwords, which is the same password linked to iCloud and iTunes, over the phone by providing their name, e-mail address, mailing address and the last four digits of a credit card number that is linked to an AppleID.
As of Monday, however, Amazon changed its policy so that users cannot change account settings over the phone. Read more
In what could have a major negative impact on third-party sellers, Amazon is now allowing students to rent textbooks for a semester rather than buy them. The company had launched Kindle textbook rentals last year, but this weekend, third-party sellers on Amazon began noticing textbooks that advertised an option to rent the physical books.
Companies like Chegg and BookRenter have been around for several years and offer textbook rentals, and Alibris allows third-party sellers to rent their textbooks. But Amazon’s move into textbook rentals puts them head-to-head with their own third-party sellers.
Textbooks sales are critical for Amazon booksellers, and sales during the back-to-school shopping season make up a significant part of some sellers revenue. One seller who wrote to EcommerceBytes was dismayed and said the offering could kill sales for pure-play textbook sellers.
Amazon fulfills all textbook rentals, which are eligible for Prime and Super-Saver shipping offers. Amazon was listing one macroeconomics textbook for sale for $170.46 and offered it for rent for $45.75 with a due date of December 13, 2012 – a significant discount for cash-strapped students (and parents).
Chegg.com was offering the same book for rent for $57.99, with a due date of December 21, 2012.
Students can rent textbooks from Amazon for a semester (130 days), and can be extended if needed. Amazon offers free return shipping – “Simply print a prepaid shipping label and drop your book off at the nearest UPS or USPS location.”
This post was originally appeared on ‘Ecommerce Bytes’
Small and mid size online retailers are highly confident in the future of ecommerce, according to the 2012 spring survey by Vendio, a provider of ecommerce software solutions. Vendio’s spring survey, in its fifth installment, questioned more than 750 ecommerce merchants and found that 84 percent of respondents are optimistic about their growth potential while 16 percent of respondents listed brick and mortar stores as a method they currently use to sell their goods. Only 11 percent of respondents are considering brick and mortar locations for future sales compared to 33 percent who are considering opening their own web store, 29 percent who would use email marketing and 26 percent who are considering selling goods on Amazon.com.
eBay and Amazon Experience Good Overall
Fully 80 percent of merchants who sell products on Amazon.com said they were satisfied with the overall experience compared to 76 percent that were satisfied with eBay and, when it came to their sales volume, 64 percent said they were satisfied with Amazon compared to 66 percent who were satisfied with eBay. Concerning ease of use, 93 percent of eBay users rated the process of listing on the eBay site as either “Very Easy,” “Somewhat Easy” or “Easy” as opposed to 80 percent of Amazon users who gave these same ratings. Read more
Retail is inherently visual, so it comes as no surprise that two of the biggest online sellers – Amazon and eBay – have added Pinterest buttons to product pages.
While many mentions of Amazon from early Pinterest adopters refer to the rainforest, users have mentioned the site in their picture captions, even before the e-commerce giant included the Pinterest share button on pages.
Statements like one from Pinterest user Mary Kobayashi: “I bought this dress on a whim, as I had never bought clothes from Amazon before…. Either way, I’m so glad I did it,” are easily found. Read more